Stroke treatment

Older African American man smiling after recovering from stroke.

Stroke is a 911 medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Generally, do not drive yourself or let another person drive you to the hospital. In an ambulance, emergency medical staff (EMS) can begin treatment at once and will contact The Christ Hospital Emergency Department. Our emergency department doctors and stroke team will tell the EMS whether to begin clot-busting medicine and any other therapies, and will meet the ambulance when it arrives. This ensures you get the fastest, most effective treatment possible.

Treatment for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke

Stroke treatment is most effective when started right away. Your doctor will create a care plan for you based on: 

  • Cause of your stroke 

  • How well you handle certain medicines, treatments or therapies

  • Severity and type of your stroke

  • Where in your brain the stroke happened 

  • Your age, overall health and past health 

  • Your opinion or preference (if you are not able to provide it, a family member will be asked)

  • Emergency treatment after a stroke may include: 

  • Clot-busting medicines (thrombolytics or fibrinolytics)—to dissolve the blood clots that cause an ischemic stroke. They can reduce the damage to brain cells caused by the stroke. Clot-busting medicines are most effective within 3 hours of a stroke occurring.

  • Craniotomy—a type of brain surgery to remove blood clots, relieve pressure or repair bleeding in the brain. 

  • Life support measures—include using a ventilator to help you breathe, providing IV fluids, proper nutrition and controlling your blood pressure.

  • Anticoagulants medicine—such as aspirin and anticoagulants that interfere with the blood's ability to clot. 

  • Medications and therapy—special IV (intravenous) fluids used to help reduce or control brain swelling, especially with hemorrhagic stroke. 

  • Neuroprotective medicines—help protect the brain from damage and lack of blood flow (ischemia).

Treatment for transient ischemic attack (TIA)

The goal of treatment for transient ischemic is to prevent stroke. Treatment will depend on the cause of the TIA and may include: 

  • Anti-platelet medicines—such as aspirin that keep blood cells from sticking together and forming blood clots. 

  • Anticoagulants—medicines that stop proteins from forming blood clots. These medicines may be short- or long-acting. You may need anticoagulants if you have atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. 

  • Carotid angioplasty—a minimally invasive procedure using a small balloon that is inflated to open the artery, and a stent (mesh tube) to keep the artery open. 

  • Endarterectomy—surgery to open a blocked carotid artery to improve blood flow to the brain. 

In addition to medications, lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent TIA. These include:
  • Don't smoke, or quit if you do

  • Drink alcohol only in moderation 

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet

  • Exercise regularly

  • Maintain a healthy weight 

Rehabilitation after stroke treatment

You may require rehabilitation therapy , depending on your condition after stroke treatment. We offer both inpatient and outpatient physical and occupational therapy services, providing the level of care when you need it and where you need it.

CARF accredited

The Christ Hospital currently holds a three-year accreditation—the highest level—from CARF International for Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Services as well as an additional Accreditation for Inpatient Rehabilitation Stroke Specialty programs. 

Learn more about stroke care at The Christ Hospital Health Network.